Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Art Shed: Part 1

I have spent several weeks (actually months) working with my dear friend, Judith making her shed into an art studio, or as we refer to it, her "Art Shed". 

We are excited about the transformation and want to share it with you. Because it involved numerous steps to get to the "big reveal," we'll break it into two parts for you to see. It is quite amazing what can be done to a shed with just a little bit of time, energy, creativity, and a minimum investment of money.

Here is what we started with. These are photos of the exterior of the shed which Judith had used for storage for several years.

The exterior side view

The front doors
  The floors were plywood. There was some mold in one area which we easily remedied with applications of Clorax.

To begin the makeover, insulation was added between the studs to the shed walls and ceiling.

The insulation made a huge difference
to the inside temperature.

We considered several different options to cover the walls...sheetrock, plywood, beadboard, recycled barnwood, paneling, old doors, etc. We had to take into consideration the cost, the application, the look, as well as Judith's sensitivity to smells and chemicals.
  I brought samples of several different options from home.
Judith finally decided her preference was to cover the walls with a product called Waferboard. The 4' x 8' sheets cost only $11.78 each. She liked the texture as well as the cost and the ease of putting it up. The lumber yard would cut the sheets to the 75" overall height we needed and deliver them for a small fee. The shed measured approximately 10' by 12', so we would need eleven sheets. We knew some cutting and fitting would be involved (as well as help from Judith's husband, Larry). We would also be thrifty by using those 21" pieces that the lumber yard had trimmed off.

Before we started putting the waferboard on the walls, we took a creative approach to the ceiling. We covered it with Painter's Dropcloths purchased at Sherwin Williams. We purchased two packages of the 6 oz. dropcloths that each measured 9' x 12'. We put them in the washing machine separately and laundered them with detergent on the warm setting. We then put them in the dryer too...they did shrink a little.  Prepare to empty your lint trap several times. They produce a lot of lint!!!  

I feel that laundering is an important step when working with dropcloths. Otherwise they do have quite an odor. Also, remember these are not perfect. You'll notice flaws in the fabric and stitching. However, we liked the look.

Getting these huge sheets onto the ceiling was a challenge. I had a tall ladder in the center and one stepstool on either side. I moved across the room back and forth, partially holding up the fabric with my head, stapling as I went. It was not easy and I can not exactly tell you how to do it...if you try this, you will just need to figure out what works best for you. Regardless of all the sweat and anxiety (did I mention that it was a hot day and I am still prone to having HOT FLASHES), the ceiling turned out quite well.
The ceiling almost looks like a mattress. I felt like that was what was on top of me while I was stapling!

After admiring how well the ceiling turned out, it was time to move on to the walls. I screwed the sheets of waferboard to the wall studs with deck screws. I kept two drills handy, one to make the pilot hole, and one to screw. I started in the center of each wall, applying a full 4' sheet, lining up on the center of the wall studs. The other pieces then had to be cut down, centering them on the wall studs as well. It became a group effort. Judith and I measured, her husband then trimmed the pieces, and then I "screwed" them to the wall. Thank goodness for two drills so I didn't have to keep changing the bits!

The pieces of blue tape mark the center of the wall studs for the screw placement.

After the waferboard sheets were all in place, we applied caulk where needed to fill in any gaps (using a paintable caulk) and then I applied two coats of primer to the walls and floors. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3 Primer. It is mold and mildew resistant, goes on thick and has a stain blocker in it. It worked well for covering the Waferboard. Primer doesn't make for exciting pictures, so I won't even show you.

Then came the fun part. Judith chose to have the wall color a neutral, almost matching the ceiling. Her artwork is to be the focus of the room, so we needed a calm background. We used two coats of Sherwin Williams, Harmony paint, Kestrel White, in a flat finish. 
Sherwin Williams Harmony paint is Zero VOC. The neutral background will let the artwork be the focus.

Then we got a little crazy with the floor. Judith had left over paint in almost every color.
I started out with a coat of red.

The red on the floor was just the first of many coats.

The floor took several more steps. On top of the red, we brushed green and then yellow paint in random areas, not completely covering the floor. The last color applied was blue. I used a really wide brush and tried to create the look of floor boards, letting some of the other colors show through in places.
The effect of all the paint layers is a time-worn distressed look. It is hard to tell that it is sheets of plywood, not floorboards.

Finally, after all those layers, a coat of Polyurethane was applied. This will protect the floor paint as well as making it easier to sweep.

Next came the addition of trim. We used 3 1/4" MDF baseboard for all the areas. It came pre-primed and we painted it the same color as the walls. We applied it as baseboard
along the edge of the floor, around the windows and on top of the Waferboard walls.

This window trim is designed to match the trim on the outside of the shed.

Well, we are just about ready for the really fun part...putting all of Judith's art and furniture into the "Art Shed."  Check out the next post (coming soon) to see the big reveal.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Porch Decorations

I'm really happy with how my front porch turned out this fall. It's my favorite season, so this is the perfect way to celebrate! Mom's post about the fall decor in her house inspired me to finally get this done...better late than never, right?!

I bought two real pumpkins and two fake black pumpkins from Target.
I also purchased two orange mums from the garden center down the street. I replaced the pink geraniums that had been in those black planters all summer.
I LOVE the chalkboard panel. I'm happy with how my chalk art turned out. Who knows what it will be come Christmas?!

I simply painted a piece of shelving. You can buy a piece for about $1 from Home Depot if you don't have any scrapes.
These little lanterns came from Ikea. Eventually I'll load them up with pine cones for Christmas!
And the mums!! I love orange mums this time of year!
I hope you're enjoying the fall weather.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Judith's New Old Green Table

Soon I will be sharing a new post about my most recent project, converting a shed into an "Artist Studio" for my friend Judith.  In the meantime, I had to jump the gun and share a picture of one special piece of furniture that will be residing in Judith's Art Shed.

Here is a picture of the before:
Judith's father had made this sweet little table.

The table had been residing outside for a little while.  I thought it was so precious and it was special to Judith, so of course we had to find a place for it in the Art Shed.  But it needed a new look for its new home.  Judith is anything but meek and mild, and she is definitely not afraid of color.  It did not surprise me that the color she decided on for the little table would be Sherwin Williams Luau Green.   It is not for the faint of heart.

After lightly sanding what was left of the old peeling paint, the table got two light coats of the fun green.  I then distressed the edges lightly with my sanding sponge.  After that I did a dry brush technique randomly with a brown/gold mixture of acrylic craft paint.  To finish it off, I applied two coats of Minwax Spray Polyurethane Varnish in the Satin Finish.

In this close-up, you can see the dry brush technique.

The little table gets a new life being a lively green.  It took on an entirely new personality, (no wallflower here).   It will go so much better with Judith's art.  I can hardly wait for you to see that!
Quite a difference, don't you think?
I like letting the old nails show. Just think.... her Dad hammered each one of those in.

This white porcelain knob was original to the little drawer.
The legs give it a shaker look.
Her father would certainly not recognize it.

The next time you see this table it will be in its new home in Judith's Art Shed.

Until then,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange!

Last year I hosted my first Holiday Cookie Exchange with my girlfriends. It was so much fun and I think all the guests enjoyed their time (and all the goodies they got to take home). Here's how you can do the same!

1. Send out the invitations well in advance so people have time to choose their cookies and bake them. I think three to four weeks is enough notice, but I know how my friend's schedules book up, so I sent mine out for the "2nd Annual Exchange" about eight weeks ahead.
I used this fun template from

2. Tell guests how many cookies to make. Final numbers will be determined by RSVPs. I'd been to one cookie exchange where we had to make 10 cookies per person. That was too much. So for my parties I say 2-3 cookies per guest. So if there are 12 guests you'd be required to make 24-36 cookies each. That's much more doable.

3. Have guests print their cookie recipe for everyone. I didn't do this my first party but I think it's a really nice touch.

4. Here's the fun part!! Decorate and make appetizers!! Last year I made meatballs, crostini, a veggie tray and fried (baked) ravioli. We had hot chocolate, coffee, wine and a few sodas to drink.
The cookie exchange savory snack spread!

5. Set up one big table or several smaller tables for the cookies. Make sure there is room for guests to walk around in a circle and gather their cookies.

6. Have plenty of saran wrap, wax paper and some extra containers on hand. (Guests should be instructed to bring their own empty container, but it's always nice to have some on hand, just in case).

7. Entertain, mingle, take pictures, have fun!

8. When it's time for the formal exchange I really enjoy having each guest share which cookie they made and a little bit about the cookie--why they chose it, what's in it, how hard was it, etc.

9. Go around in a circle and have each guest take the given number from each container.

10. Mingle more, take more pictures and then sit back and soak up the success of your party.
Love these ladies!
I can't wait for this year's party. I've started a group Pinterest Board with cookie recipe ideas and I've got great plans for making the party even more fun.

Happy (early) Holidays!